“Thus far the LORD has Helped Us”

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” I Samuel 7:12

These are beautiful words from the prophet Samuel in the Old Testament.  Whether people lived thousands of years ago or today, our human needs are the same. The guiding and preserving hand of the LORD in our lives is essential, and what a joy to have an Ebenezer in our own lives, marking the fact that “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”

mygarden“I was about to fall,” David wrote in the Psalms, “but the LORD helped me.”  We were despairing, and God lifted up our heads. In the midst of so much ugliness, God has set a table before us in the presence of our enemies and has given us beauty for ashes. His love has rained on us through the love of others so many times in the last few years. His hand, even when it didn’t seem to be there, has continually led us and continues to lead. We are grateful for that kindly light in the gloom of this world.

When we live by faith, God takes the broken glass of our lives and builds a stained glass window, a unique mosaic built from all the shattered pieces. The glass is illuminated by the Light of his presence, and no earthly hand can make such a design.

Our family has seen and experienced the mercies of the Lord and help in time of need.  This spring and summer have been times of change for us, and these changes are a blessing. I have never been busier, working as a producer for a national radio show, having the privilege of scheduling excellent guests and news makers and assisting an able and experienced radio host. I haven’t enjoyed myself this much in a long time! (Meeting up with my old publicist friends has been fun. One said, “Ingrid, we worked together for 20 years. Welcome back!)

We are settling into our new home. Last weekend, I spent four hours sorting and putting all my books on the various bookshelves. It isn’t home until I have Spurgeon and B.B. Warfield on the shelves. I also unpacked a little mini-library of light novels from the early 20’s and 30’s that I have saved for our little daughter, Emily. These gems are disappearing from library shelves as the new books come in, and some authors can’t even be found anymore, sadly. But I have a small trove of treasures for Emily if she loves to read like I did when I was a girl. I also have two shelves of classic literature that spans childhood, so our daughter will have a rainy day library of the best books for children.

These are the best and worst of times. The best part of these times is that we can vividly watch the spiritual battle underway that Holy Scripture clearly describes. God’s Word is being proved true again and again in every headline you read. There is no neutrality in these times, no middle ground between good and evil, between life and death. Life and family are cheap in this world that rejects God and His goodness. But we have a glorious hope for a future where God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and where we will know joy forever more. In the mean time, as the poet put it, “God stands within the shadows, keeping watch over his own.”

Much Too High a Price

My brother-in-law Russ recorded this beautiful song with his wife Lisa on the piano.

Your love endured the cross
Despising all the shame
That afternoon when midnight fell
Your suffering cleared my name
And that sin-swept hill became
The open door to paradise
Because you paid so high a price

You paid much too high a price for me
Your tears, your blood, the pain
To have my soul just stirred at times
Yet never truly changed
You deserve a fiery love
That won’t ignore your sacrifice
Because you paid much too high a price

Your grace inspires my heart
To rise above the sin
And all the earthly vanity
That seeks to draw me in
I want to tell this jaded world of love
That truly saved my life
A love that paid
So high a price

The Eye of Faith

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me.” (Ps. 138:7).

The Hebrew rendering of the above is “go on in the center of trouble.” What descriptive words! We have called on God in the day of trouble; we have pleaded His promise of deliverance but no deliverance has been given; the enemy has continued oppressing until we were in the very thick of the fight, in the center of trouble. Why then trouble the Master any further?

When Martha said, “Lord, if thou hadst been here my brother had not died,” our Lord met her lack of hope with His further promise, “Thy brother shall rise again.” And when we walk “in the center of trouble” and are tempted to think like Martha that the time of deliverance is past, He meets us too with a promise from His Word. “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me.”

Though His answer has so long delayed, though we may still continue to “go on” in the midst of trouble, “the center of trouble” is the place where He revives, not the place where He fails us. When in the hopeless place, the continued hopeless place, is the very time when He will stretch forth His hand against the wrath of our enemies and perfect that which concerneth us, the very time when He will make the attack to cease and fail and come to an end.

What occasion is there then for fainting?
–Aphra White

THE EYE OF THE STORM

Fear not that the whirlwind shall carry thee hence,
Nor wait for its onslaught in breathless suspense,
Nor shrink from the whips of the terrible hail,
But pass through the edge to the heart of the gale,
For there is a shelter, sunlighted and warm,
And Faith sees her God through the eye of the storm.
The passionate tempest with rush and wild roar
And threatenings of evil may beat on the shore,
The waves may be mountains, the fields battle plains,
And the earth be immersed in a deluge of rains,
Yet, the soul, stayed on God, may sing bravely its psalm,
For the heart of the storm is the center of calm.
Let hope be not quenched in the blackness of night,
Though the cyclone awhile may have blotted the light,
For behind the great darkness the stars ever shine,
And the light of God’s heavens, His love shall make thine,
Let no gloom dim thine eyes, but uplif t them on high
To the face of thy God and the blue of His sky.
The storm is thy shelter from danger and sin,
And God Himself takes thee for safety within;
The tempest with Him passeth into deep calm,
And the roar of the winds is the sound of a psalm.
Be glad and serene when the tempest clouds form;
God smiles on His child in the eye of the Storm.

THINK ON THIS THING

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

~From Streams in the Desert

storm

He is Risen!

Ye sons and daughters of the Lord,
the King of glory, King adored,
this day Himself from death restored.

When Thomas saw that wounded side,
the truth no longer he denied;
“Thou art my Lord and God!” he cried.

Oh, blest are they who have not seen
their Lord and yet believe in Him!
eternal life awaiteth them.

Now let us praise the Lord most high,
and strive His name to magnify
on this great day, through earth and sky:

Alleluia!

sunrise

Early Morning Message: Love Never Fails

Our little Emmy came in at 6am today and asked me if I wanted to hear what she had learned this week at school. I share it here on Good Friday, because of the supreme love of God for us in our sins and the sacrifice of his only Son on the cross for us. God’s love never fails.

He is ‘Lord of the Small’

Praise to the Lord of the small broken things,
who sees the poor sparrow that cannot take wing.
who loves the lame child and the wretch in the street
who comforts their sorrows and washes their feet.

Praise to the Lord of the faint and afraid
who girds them with courage and lends them His aid,
He pours out his spirit on vessels so weak,
that the timid can serve and the silent can speak.

Praise to the Lord of the frail and the ill
who heals their afflictions or carries them till,
they leave this tired frame and to paradise fly.
to never be sick and never to die.

Praise him, O praise Him all ye who live
who’ve been given so much and can so little give
our frail lisping praise God will never despise-
He sees His dear children through mercy-filled eyes.

Text: Johanna Anderson

Music: Dan Forrest

For Your Day

For 20 years, since I discovered its riches, the oratorio, Elijah, by Mendelssohn, has been a source of comfort and hope. From the opening chorus of, “Help, Lord!” through all of it’s Scripture-laden content, it is the story of a people in need of God’s help and deliverance. And it’s the story of how God did deliver. This aria, sung by a young boy in this rendition, is one of my favorites. Direct instruction. “Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him, and He will give you your heart’s desire.”